Is Minneapolis still in the stadium game?

The rivalry between Minneapolis supporters of a new Metrodome and supporters of a new NFL stadium on the Farmer’s Market site left a gap for Ramsey County to step through in May.

Now the Vikings say they’re about to cross the goal line in Arden Hills.

fmv.jpgBut developer Bruce Lambrecht, leading the team behind the Farmer’s Market proposal (left), wants you to know one thing about a stadium deal looming at the Capitol: It’s not dead yet.

“I’m not going to name names, I’m not going to tell you who they are,” Lambrecht says. “But I really think we pulled some people over to the Farmer’s Market.”

Lambrecht says they’ve been sharpening their pencils and making presentations to business and civic leaders in Minneapolis for weeks, hoping a united front might lure the Vikings back to town.

City Council president Barb Johnson was among them. She said she saw the latest proposal last week. “It was the first time I saw how it actually worked on a map,” Johnson said in an interview.

But was she one of the unnamed converts?

It didn’t sound like it: “I certainly think there are challenges to the Farmer’s Market site… I have always said the Metrodome is the most reasonably priced option, and that’s my first choice.”

Well, that’s the view from the north side of 5th Street. What about the south side?

Lester Bagley says the Vikings talked with Hennepin County talked for “months” about the Farmer’s Market site before they moved on to Arden Hills.

Board chairman Mike Opat was key to the Target Field deal for the Twins, and was working on a deal with the Vikings. Opat is more circumspect about the prospects than the city council president.

“I’m not in any hurry to comment either way,” he said an email, although he did say he might have more to say next week.

For his part, Lambrecht says he’s been winning converts with a new angle on the real estate factors in Minneapolis.

Here’s his pitch:

“The land values around the Metrodome site are almost double (the value around the Farmer’s Market.) The point we’ve made is that you can’t say that the Metrodome site makes more sense because the land is free. The land has value. What we’ve shown them is that if you play for the next two or three years in the Metrodome site, and then you put out a request for proposals to a developer or multiple developers, you can sell the land that the Metrodome sits on. You can use the proceeds of that land to acquire the land from the various property owners, and its probably going to be a wash. That was never in the original analysis. It was always, well the land is free, and its going to cost $40 million over at the Farmer’s Market.”

Will that get anywhere? Hard to know with the Vikings and Ramsey County walking down the aisle and possibly just a few steps from the altar. The team and the county say they’re ready for their happily ever after at the old Twin Cities Army Ammunition Plant.

But we all remember how The Graduate ended.

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